Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#757 Gonzaga vs.
#758 Arizona
Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 10:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#757 Gonzaga University
#758 University of Arizona
10-1
9-1
23-14
13-19
18-19
14-17-1
87
70
64
68

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No. 9 Gonzaga takes on No. 15 Arizona on Saturday night from the McKale Center in Tuscon. The Zags have bounced back from a bad loss to Michigan int he Battle 4 Atlantis (82-64) to crush Texas Southern (101-62) at home and beat Washington on the road (83-76) last Sunday.

The Wildcats were defeated last Saturday at Baylor, 63-58 and beat up on poor Omaha, 99-49 at home on Wednesday. These teams have met five times in the last nine years with Gonzaga winning at home, 91-74 last season in November.

Zags get back on track with win over Huskies

The Zags had all five starters to score over double digits in their win over Washington by seven on Sunday. Gonzaga is kind of a work-in-progress for head coach Mark Few because they lost four starters last season. But this is still a quality team with good shooters and a big frontcourt. That frontcourt is led by senior Killian Tillie (6-10, 220), who scored 15 points, dished out six assists and grabbed five boards against the Huskies. Sophomore Filip Petrusev (6-11, 225) led the Zags with 17 points and 10 boards. Gonzaga shot 48% from the field and just 6-of-21 from beyond the arc. Washington shot 51% from the floor and 9-of-23 from beyond the arc, but they turned it over 18 times.

Petrusev leads the Zags with 15.8 points per game and 8.5 rebounds on 52.4% shooting with 1.2 blocks. Tillie adds 13.7 points on 49.2% shooting (40.7% 3pt). The key for Gonzaga will be their guard play and it's led by senior guard Ryan Wooldridge, who averages 9.9 points on 52.5% shooting with 4.0 assists per game.

On the season, Gonzaga averages 85.9 points per game (4th in the nation) on 49.9% shooting (38.3% 3pt). They allow 65.0 points per game on 41.1% shooting (34.9% 3pt). They outrebound teams by 10.8 per game and force 15.1 turnovers per contest while committing just 11.5.

Looking for consistency

Arizona is 9-1 this season with just one loss and that came against Baylor. They opened with an impressive win over Illinois, 90-69. That was a dominant performance but since then, the Wildcats were not really tested. They beat San Diego State by seven laying 25 on Nov. 21 at home.

In fact, they played just one road game and that came against Baylor last Saturday, Arizona was held to just 27 % shooting from the field and 2-of-18 from beyond the arc. Freshman Nico Mannion led the Wildcats with 15 points and five assists, but he shot just 3-of-14 from the floor. Mannion had a better shooting night against Omaha in their last outing, going 5-of-10 from the field with 13 points and 11 assists.

Mannion (6-3, 190) is one of several talented freshmen on this roster. He's averaging 15.1 points per game and 6.2 assists. Another quality freshman Josh Green (6-6, 210) adds 12.7 points and 5.1 rebounds on 44.5% shooting. Freshman Zeke Nnaji (6-11, 240) leads Arizona with 15.9 points per game with 6.7 rebounds. He's shooting 70.7% from the floor and 80% from the line.

Arizona is averaging 85.5 points per game (7th) on 51.2% shooting (40.6% 3pt). They allow 63.2 points per game on 36.7% (16th) from the field and 32.2% from beyond the arc.

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Sean Miller has done a nice job with this team on the floor, as he's tried to replace players leaving early (DeAndre Ayton) and get by despite some serious allegations. But it's taken a toll on this squad. Last year, they were barely over .500 and while they should be improved, they are relying on too many freshmen. That's not the case with Gonzaga, who had a lot of depth last season, but guys saw less time because they were playing behind NBA players like Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke. They were embarrassed against Michigan and that loss will galvanize them against a young Arizona squad.

Prediction: Gonzaga +2

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It's surprising that Gonzaga ranks at just 86th in pace of play and Arizona is 101st. But both teams can flat out shoot the basketball. Mannion is going to be a star, but the Zags just give you solid players that make few mistakes. Gonzaga has gone over in five straight games, so defense is not quite up to par yet (allowed 82 against Michigan). I think both teams could reach 80 in this one and this should be one of those games that will go down to the wire with the Zags winning.

Prediction: Over 151
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!